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Hidden Treasures: Thrift Shop offers more than clothes

Heather Savage, Priscilla Thurman and Amanda Collins, thrift shop employees, showcase different items for sale at the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Heather Savage, Priscilla Thurman and Amanda Collins, thrift shop employees, showcase different items for sale at the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: May 29, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 29, 2014) -- Many people might have a preconceived idea of what a second-hand store has to offer, but the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop breaks all the stereotypes.

The store is a place where people can donate, shop, volunteer and consign whatever they so choose, and money spent there is put back into the community.

And this store not only has designer clothes, shoes and bags, but also features never opened kitchen appliances, newly released books and pristine home decor.

The Fort Rucker Thrift Shop is a non-profit 501(c)-3 organization established to generate funds, which are disbursed as grants to charitable organizations on Fort Rucker and in the local communities, in order to benefit Soldiers and their Families, said Donna Woodham, manager.

“We sell merchandise to generate profit in order to give those monies back to the community through grants and scholarships,” she said.

Over the years many organizations have benefited from the thrift shop’s financial support.

“We contribute to the Boy and Girl Scouts, Army Community Service, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Relay for Life, and to local schools and libraries,” she said, adding that they help more than 15 programs.

The thrift shop is responsible for many scholarships and grants that are awarded each year in the community.

“We gave out $24,000 in scholarships this year and an additional $50,000 in the last two years,” she said. “We have also given out over $100,000 in scholarships to date and over $250,000 in grants since we began operations.”

Applications for a thrift shop scholarship can be picked up from the shop or downloaded from http://fortruckerthriftshop.com/scholarships.htm.

Anyone can donate something to the thrift shop by bringing it inside or by placing it in the shed in the parking lot, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The store accepts everything but mattresses.

“We also accept consignments on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Interested consignors are welcome to visit the shop during business hours for more information,” she said, adding that consignment hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The store is open for people to shop and volunteer Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fred Zayas, Army retiree, said he has been shopping at military thrift shops since he was a little boy as a military dependent when his mother would bring him. And ever since then, the prices and atmospheres motivate him to continue to shop at military thrift shops.

“What somebody else wants to sell can be my little treasure that I find,” he said. “I long for some of the things I used to have that are no longer made or sold. This is a great way to have a second chance at having those things again.”

In his travels as an Aviator, Zayas said he has shopped at many discount stores, but shopping on post is “still the best.”

The shop has been in operation for more than 40 years and officials there say it is a great opportunity to contribute to the community by donating items or by volunteering time to help sort, tag and display the merchandise.

“Even if people can’t volunteer their time, by donating or shopping they are helping their community because the funds are funneled back to it,” said Woodham.

For people wishing to receive tax receipts for donations, Woodham said they must come inside during business hours, but employees are happy to give them out. People do not need a military ID to shop, donate, buy or consign merchandise.

The store already has low prices, but it still offers sales to Soldiers and their Families. Soldiers in uniform get half off a white-ticketed item each time they come in, she said.

The shop is located on the corner of Red Cloud and Ruf Avenue in the old Armed Forces Bank building, next door to the Fort Rucker Bowling Center.

The shop sold more than 75,000 items in 2013 with the help of volunteers, consigners and donators, Woodham said.

The thrift shop is a private organization that is independent of Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and spouse clubs. It accepts credit cards and cash.

For more information on the thrift shop, visit fortruckerthriftshop.com.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/126971/

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